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Into the Outworlds: T20 Campaign log


Okay, you demanded it -- here it is! A very sketchy log of my recently started T20 game. Sorry, I'm not the sort of guy who records every breath the characters take.

The campaign takes place in the gateway domain, and begins in the Diamond Prince subsector, but quickly moves into the Outworld subsector.

IMTU note: I have decided that in interpereting UWPs, the size digit represents mass (each point is 1/8 M(terra) ). This is a quick fix to the problem that small worlds in traveller often have much more atmosphere than they should, but it lets me not bother directly inspecting and revising world statistics; a "size" 2 world in this system can end up being the equivalent of a size 4 or 5 world in the traveller rules. If you don't care about the particulars of physical UWPs, it may not matter too you much, but in cases where I have done calculations to figure out some aspects of the worlds visited, so that may impact some of you taking notes for your own Gateway campaigns.

Other nips and tucks: I use WBH and First In in some places to calculate world statistics, as well as other older Traveller material. In particular, I stronly prefer MT's take on sensors and other technologies, have a bit revised skill check sequence for starship operation mimicing those of MT. I also use the freelance traveller take on Gas Giants.
Dramatis Personae

Ralko Greyn - Male Vargr Merchant 2/Rogue 7 - Pilot and smuggler - Homeworld Kiikedia (Ley 1235)

Brooke Forrest - Female Human (Mixed) Marine 4 / Academic 7 - Doctor - Homeworld Ohasset (Ley 1435) - Mustered out from the Scorpion logistics support group.

D'nala Fo'tari* - Female Human (Vilani) Navy 7 - Astrogator and people-person - Homeworld Dugam (Ley 0505) - mustered out from the Sabrewolf clss destroyer Bladehawk.

Jeffen Santher - Male Human (Solomani) Marine 9 - Gun Bunny - Homeworld Shikirmi (Ley 1730) - Mustered out from the Scorpion battle group.

Alex Thomson - Male Human (Solomani) Merchant 7/Navy 1 - Engineer/Miracle Worker - Homeworld Ohasset (Ley 1435) - Mustered out from the Ramada class close escort Helian, one of the escorts of the Bladehawk.

* - Yes, I know this is not a proper Vilani name. I assume it's a local dialect and a more proper Vilani version is Dinaala Puudarii.
Date: 110-993
Location: Rukirligi/Ley 2435

World profile:
Rukirligi 2435 C243678-4 N Ni 213 Im G7 V

Rukirligi is a mid-sized, low tech world hosing a small frontier naval base. Rukirligi's technology base is low and its people are peaceful but aloof.

A strange locale for a naval base, this base was constructed primarily as a launch off point for anti-piracy sweeps and flag showing in the nearby Outworlds subsector in an effort to gain and maintain new Imperial clients. To date, this effort has been successful resulting in seveal Imperial clients well on their way to becoming full imperial members, but the pulling away of naval forces has left the status of the base in doubt.

Lay to nearest Imperial Naval Base for routing orders to reinforce Solmani Rim effort.

It was how the orders appeared to many Imperial naval ships. And unfortunately for a small number of souls mustering out of the navy or marines, the navy guaranteed that it would drop them off at the first available naval base before deploying to the new influence area.

Unfortunately for four particular souls, because of all the worlds to host an Imperial Naval base, Rukirligi had to be the most backwards. The navy was the only bastion of technology on this starforsaken rock.

(more later -- it's late)
Brooke, D'nala, Jeffen, and Alex all found themselves in a similar situation: mustered out from the navy on a low tech world with few visitors or job prospects. After all, not many ship captains look for qualified crew on a TL 4 world.

They were fortunate, then, to find a querry in their comm accounts on the naval base's messanging system from a Captain Keith Barret of the Lewis & Clark wishing to inquire after their services as starship crew.

During the interview, they discover that Captain Baker is the captain of a subsidized survey cruiser. The local branch of the scout service, anticipating a call up of many of their units, pushed through a subsidy program to hire out independant ships to universities or other science concerns in the hopes of further exploring extra-imperial space, especially in the region of client states and prospective imperial member worlds. However, the deal was done with enough haste that Barret was left with an undermanned crew after some scouts (which he relied on extensively to fill out the crew of such missions) and reservists were called up for duty.

The four filled out missing billets nicely, with the exception of a pilot. Which made Alex think. There was a friend of his from the days in the merchants that he saw in the port, he wondered if he was still around.

So he headed down to the local starport bar and tracked Ralko down and told him of the job.

By the next day, the new crewmembers had come to an agreement and were ready to set out on their first expedition together. Barret introduced the crew to the other scientists and gunners on staff, as well as Rukarak N'ghro, a Vargr navy veteran acting as assistant cheif engineer.
Date: 112-993
Location: Rukirligi/Ley 2435, Rukirligi downport

While the crew was busy familiarizing themselves with the ship (particularly Alex, who had buried himself in the engine room with glee) and looking to head out, the rougish vargr pilot Ralko had already scouted out the ship for potential hidey-holes for any "small packages" that he might be able to transport for a small profit.

Unfortunately, his search in the main downport was fruitless. The underworld was pretty vapid here and the low-tech and aloof natives didn't seem too interested in the small package trade, as it were.

However, he did happen upon a merchant captain named Rand Rikkish in the downport. Rikkish was in some pretty dire straights. A mistake by one of his green pilots during a refuling operation took them too deep into the atmosphere of a gas giant a little bigger than the ones they were used to refueling from, and the recovery effort had left his maneuver drives in near inoperable condition*. He limped back to the mainworld, but landing or further refueling was out of the question. He was in desperate need of a few maneuver drive momentum stabilizers and some power couplings, if Ralko could spare them from his ship's spare parts inventory.

All Rikkesh had to offer was some new laser pistols, a few spare missiles and sandcaster parts, and some wine (which from Rikkesh's tone Ralko assumed were ill-gotten.) A bit of a risk financially speaking, but he might be able to find a good buyer for the wine and it never hurt to have a few high-powered sidearms on hand.

While discussing the deal, they were interrupted by a robed man seeking alms. Rikkesh offered a spare food pack and Ralko some spare credits. In return, the little man gave them some of his homespun visions. He told Ralko something to the effect of "in the darkness, your efforts shine brightest." Whatever.

On returning to the Lewis & Clark, Ralko approached Alex about what parts he could spare. Alex, confident of his own ability to calibrate his ship's drives without the spares, green lighted the exchanges.

Ralko returned with Jeffen to complete the exchange with a very happy captain Rikkesh.

Within a day, the Lewis & Clark was headed to the 100D limit and transited into jump to Gergigi, a small imperial client where the ship was to allow the scientists to study local life for a few weeks and pick up a jump-space physicists who would be performing some experiments on the rest of their mission.

* - IMTU note: I don't assume that all gas giant refueling is safe. In particular, some larger gas giants have higher density, and you have to dive lower into the gravity well to recover fuel. But in some cases, the risk isn't worth it if you have a low maneuver ship (see the table at the bottom of this page for comparisons of density and surface gravity).
I use many MT references, including the Starship operators Handbook, which mentions the possibility of overloading a ships maneuver drives. Rikkesh did that to save his ship, but damaged his drives in the process.
Date: 112-993
Location: Aboard Lewis & Clark in jumpspace, en route to Gergigi

"We really need to upgrade this ship", words from Jeffen to Alex, not used to even being on a ship with a (gasp) empty turret. Staring at the missiles and sandcaster parts they got from Rikkish with poor prospects of turning a profit, the began planning rerouting some power conduits and consolodating some of the ship's double pulse lasers into triple turrets, and filling the empty turrets with sandcasters and missile racks.

Jeffen also got Alex to fit his surplus PGMP-12 to the rotary mount on the ATV.

Ship Profile: Explorer Class Survey Cruiser Lewis & Clark

Lewis & Clark - Explorer Class Survey Cruiser
Explorer Class Survey Cruiser Designed by: FASA
Adapted for T20 by: Alan D. Kohler

800-ton Hull (Flattened Sphere) - Streamlined
AC: 10 (8 vs. Meson Guns) AR: 0 SI: 205 Initiative: 0
Starship Size: Medium Cost: 637.832 MCr (797.29 MCr without discount)
Model/5 Fib (PP: 49/13) Computer Avionics: Less than 1,000-ton Sensors: Very Long Range Communications: Short Range (Maser, Meson)
Cargo: 59.0-tons
Annual Maintenance = 63.783 KCr (31.892 KCr if routinely maintained)
Routine Maintenance = 15.946 KCr/Month (159.458 KCr per year)

Jump-3 (enough fuel for 1x Jump-3)
Acceleration: 1-G Agility: 0
Power Plant: TL-14 Fusion (43 EP output, enough fuel for 4 weeks)
Fuel Scoops, Fuel Purification Plant (TL-14, 6hrs per 200 tons of fuel)
Atmospheric Speeds: NOE = 875kph Cruising = 2,625kph Maximum = 3,500kph

Hardpoints: 8
8x Double Beam Laser Turret TL-14, +3 To Hit, 3d8 (20/x1), Range: 30,000km

Ship's Vehicles:
2x 5-ton air/raft
2x 50-ton modular cutters (one with open module, one with ATV module)
Launch facilities for 1 Craft per turn

Accomodations & Fittings:
6x Single Occupancy Stateroom (6 People)
41x Small Cabin (41 People)
4x Low Berth (4 People)
1x Standalone Fresher
7x Laboratory (14 Scientists)
2x Sickbay (4 Patients)
1x Autodoc
3x Airlocks

Crew Details:
Minimum 1x Pilot, 1x Astrogator, 3x Engineer
8x Gunner.
Has accommodations for 6 officers, 13 crew, 8 troops, plus up to 20 additional researchers, scientists, or security personnel.


The Explorer class survey cruiser is a common sight in frontier regions of Imperium such as the Spinward Marches, Reaver's Deep, and Ley Sector. The ship was originally conceived as a variant of the Broadsword class mercenary cruiser. Design specifications resulted in a different final form from the broadsword, but the ships share many common design features, which simplifies the logistics of acquiring and replacing components for the ship.

Two areas of the ship are not shown on the deckplans: the cutter docking bay underneath the ship, and the twin fuel pods on either side of the ship.

By default, the ship is provided with 8 twin laser turrets. Four are located on the upper deck, and are directly accessible from certain staterooms (normally assigned to gunners), two amidships on the lower deck, and two at the bow of the cutter docking bay.

Explorer class vessels are normally named for famous explorers. Examples ships operating in the Gateway Domain include Admiral Cheng Ho, Adrew Dewitt, Jaques Cousteau, Deiter Ingram, Gigadii Gininga, Giigiluki Uushlirrem, Irgam Lankagnashun, Jacob Allman, Joyce Tifier, Katrina Cuyler, Lara Suvorov, Lauren Wilson, Leif Erikson, Lewis & Clark, Pablo Barcena, Scylax, Shugum Muushdur, Tasha Diplarakos, Thor Heyerdahl, and Yves Thibodaux.

Ref notes:

The Explorer Class survey cruiser is adapted from Adventure Class Ships Vol. I by FASA.

One of the things I really dig about Traveller is that more than any other RPG I have played, the players tend to be self motivating. It was the first time playing Traveller for these players, so I opted to sort of lead them by the nose by putting them under a ship captain, but nonetheless, they immediately started making plans to better their condition.
Date: 119-993
Location: Aboard Lewis & Clark, 100 diameters from the Gas Giant Kiishar, en route to the moon/mainworld Gergigi

With a sickening lurch, the Lewis & Clark returns to normal space, right on target 100 diameters out from the Gas Giant Kiishar. Visual sensors show the gas giant hanging in the sky like a great sapphire.

D'nala's initial hails to the Gergigi highport (the astrogators guide lists only one, though there are multiple stations in orbit) receive only the navigation beacon and automated message in response. Almost immediately, however, a message from Dr. Davian Phelister arrives and requests to be put on a private channel to the captain.

Shortly, D'nala gets a commication from the downport. The traffic director asks if they need highport services, but states that it will take them a few hours to get some workers in the highport.

This seems a little odd to D'nala, who expects such a large station to be well manned. When asking the traffic director about the situation, the traffic director relates the situation. Gergigi was once a much larger colony. Not huge by any means, but substantial. However, nearly 100 years ago, a comet passing Kiishar which was expected to miss Gergigi unexpectedly fragmented and a significant peice ploughed into the world. Widespread death and emigration depopulated the planet, and looters and offworld reavers took more of a toll. However, the remaining colonists managed to establish a stable community in one of the former city and get one of the highports operating again, albeit at a much reduced level.

The captain, after he was done with his private communication, announed to the ship that their stay on Gergigi was going to be shorter than anticipated. Dr. Phelister had arranged for the biologists and planetologists who were scheduled to do research on Gergigi to stay behind while the ship headed out to complete Dr. Phelister's project.

Dr. Phelister's project involved taking precise measurements during successive jumps as they approached the Marla subsector of the Glimmerdrift sector. The region was noted for a destructive jump-space phenomenon called deadspace. This project is of some importance to the imperium, as they may be required to operate in the region, and would like to minimize the chance of jump mishaps.

World Profile:
Gergigi 2537 A896340-B Lo Ni 623 IC G0 V

Gergigi is a largish moon of an epistellar gas giant, Kiishar. The long orbital period of Gergigi around Kiishar makes the tidal-locked Gergigi's day very long.

Gergigi was formerly a much larger colony, until a bypassing comet fragmented and one of the fragments struck Gergigi in 904, doing considerable damage.

It took several decades for Gergigi to recover. Two of the three major cities of the world were devestated; the descendants of the survivors of the cometary impact live mostly in the third city, and have restored the highport to operation, though there is much more capacity than avaiable personell or market need, so overall throughput through the starport is small, most large traders moving on to Navarino.

The Imperial Navy maintains a small presence here, and the world has become known for treating its scientists and engineers (which played an important role in the survival of the locals) as near-nobility. This became an impetus for starting a small research institute here, which some Imperial concerns use as a launch point for expiditions into the subsector.
Date: 119-993
Location: Kaebar downport, Gergigi.

Jeffen descended in the cargo cutter through the mist and neared the vast -- and mostly unused -- Kaebar downport. As he approached the landing pad indicated by the beacon, he could make out a stack of shipping containers and a human waiting beside it.

As Jeffen equalized the atmosphere and opened the ramp, he heard the wavering yet loud voice of Davien Phelister demanding to know why it took so long to arrive and why he had only one hand to get the cargo aboard. Eventually, Dr. Phelister summoned a local cargo hand with a loader to help, the whole time admonishing care in handling his carefully calibrated equipment.

After getting the somewhat demanding Dr. Phelister (and his precious equipment) onboard, Alex and Jeffen returned to the downport and went looking for more parts to complete their turret upgrade project. The port had no ship's weaponry available, but the cargomaster related that there was an abandoned planetary naval base in the downport of the larger ruined city of Iisdamsei. He related that most of the starport was ruined by the shock wave of the impact, but the naval base had some deep blast-proof bunkers.

So Alex, Jeffen, and Ralko loaded up in the ATV cutter while D'nala minded the refueling at the Gergigi highport.

From the air, the crater of the cometary impact was still visible, as are the ruins of the largely overgrown city of Iisdamsei. However, the party approached the naval landing field. All the entrances appeared inoperable and covered in layers of dust, but on the base of the bluff-like side of the naval station next to an old auxiliary landing field, there appeared to be a number of passable entrances. Some old buckled blast doors were laying on the field nearby, as if they were nearly destroyed in-place but later towed aside. A large accessway descended into the mountain-like base.

The three loaded up in the ATV and proceeded into the articial bluff, the way lit by the ATV's spotlights.

A little ways into the complex, Jeffen noticed something moving in the rafters and catwalks, and then Alex got an indication of an outgoing message on the comm deck. He unloaded the mounted PGMP on the catwalk, which left the occupant dangling in the air, holding on for dear life.

Jeffen dismounted and headed up to the catwalks. By the time he got to that level, the assumed scout had recovered his footing. At closer range, the scout was shown to be an ACR-armed four armed human -- a Sydite. The scout shouted with his gun pointed down and retreated into a tunnel in the complex wall.

Jeffen returned to the ATV and they continued deeper into the complex. The group spotted an old dust-covered sign indicating that weapons were ahead and only authorize personnel should enter. So of course, they proceeded.

Most of the supposed armory had been ransacked, but they spotted a vault. A quick inspection by Ralko and Alex revealed that the vault needed power to operate. Alex arranged the power and Ralko hacked into the system and bypassed the security circuit controlling the lock solenoids. The opening mechanism was inoperable, but easy opened with help of the ATV.

Inside, they found a considerable stash of parts for a variety of heavy and starship weapons. Between Alex and Jeffen, they sifted through the inventory until they had most of the more complex parts they need to build a turret, with the exception of the larger -- and less technical -- mounts and structural parts.

With the ATV stocked up, Alex floored it back out of the armory, to see three ACR-armed Sydites. Alex slowed the ATV as the Sydites shouted, demaning a "toll" of 50 thousand imperial credits to pass.

While they were discussing the details, the ever alert recon specialist Jeffen noticed two RAM-grenade armed thugs hiddin in the rafters.

Not pleased with the Sydite's extortion efforts -- or being threatened -- Jeffen aimed the vehicle mounted PGMP at one of the RAM-armed Sydites, disabling him as his launcher went clattering to the cement floor 15 meters below.

The other Sydites opened fire and Alex floored the ATV. The ACRs were largely ineffectual against the ATV, but the other RAM armed Sydite hit the ATV in the flank, filling the vehicle with a deafening clang and dislocating the armor plate.

Ralko stuck his head out of a hatch and opened a hail of gunfire on the ACR amred Sydites, albeit inefectually. He ducked his head back in and the return fire from the ACRs came.

Alex went for the exit, only to almost high center the ATV on a fallen stantion. Another round of fire was exchanged (with no casualties) between the two parties before alex freed up the ATV and floored it again. Jeffen deliviered a PGMP shot to a ceiling support, dumping a clound of dust and debris on the Sydites.

As they retreated, Alex noted that they were wearing uniforms, albeit lacking any sort of markings. At first he thought they might have been ransacked, but then he noted that the uniforms did not seemed to be altered to fit the Sydites extra arms.

The crew returned to the downpoint, sold a few extra parts to the locals, and used a little extra cash to make sure their machine shop could turn out some mounts for their proposed missile racks and sandcasters.

The Lewis & Clark proceeded outsystem with no further incident and entered jumped, destined for Navarino.
It's good to see them adopting a non-violent strategy and showing proper respect for local customs.
Local customs? Nonviolent? (Well, they really didn't have much choice in the latter case, but I guess scavenging is a local custom.)
Irony is the national sport in Britain.

Well, my "if in doubt, shoot" group just got halfway through Objects of the Mind then enacted a bit of a bloodbath without disabling the security cameras first. This gave the people who were warning them off so much leverage that the PCs really had to back off. And I was going to show them this picture for the flight into the oasis from the east.

So the main PC has just heard from the guy in the next hospital bed that there's interesting work to be had on Shamuus...
That's a ways off, isn't it.

(I should know. After my PCs wrap up at Shamuus, I'm heading them to Kiikedia. Of course if I use merchant cruiser, it sort of changes my plans a little.)
Originally posted by Psion:
That's a ways off, isn't it.

(I should know. After my PCs wrap up at Shamuus, I'm heading them to Kiikedia. Of course if I use merchant cruiser, it sort of changes my plans a little.)
The words "share of the profits" seemed to have a magical effect. I'm really using Merchant Cruiser as a plot contrivance to get to the starting planet for Cold Fuzion. But you never know, they might bite.

[I'm not sure about running Merchant Cruiser. It's a problem to work an adventure with its own ship into a campaign which already has a ship. It's a good job my lot are in a detached scout with no mortgage, so they can contemplate just parking it for a bit. Sometimes I get the feeling QLI think each adventure will be played by newly-rolled PCs who have no money and no air/raft...]

Once that/those are over, it's a choice of direction: Keepers of the Gate or Stoner Express.